Sound check is one of those features that most iPhone and iPod users don’t know about, but you should almost certainly take advantage of. By turning it on, you’ll not only have a better music listening experience, but you’ll also protect your hearing.
Songs are recorded at different volumes and technologies (this is especially true for older recordings, which are often quieter than modern ones). Because of this, the default volume at which songs play on your iPhone or iPod can vary. This can be annoying, especially if you just turned up the volume to hear a quiet song and the next one sounds so loud that it hurts your ears. Sound Check can make all your songs play at about the same volume. What’s more, it’s built into all the latest iPhones and iPods. Here’s how to use it.
How Sound Check works
Sound Check seems cool, but how does it work? Although the concept of the feature might make you wonder, according to Apple Sound Check doesn’t actually edit your music files to change their volume.
Instead, Sound Check scans all of your music to understand its basic volume information. Each song has an ID3 tag (a type of tag that contains metadata or information about the song) that can control the volume. Sound Check applies what it learns about the average volume levels of your music, and adjusts each song’s ID3 tag to be changed to create approximately the same volume for all songs. The ID3 tag is changed to adjust the playback volume, but the music file itself is never changed. As a result, you can always go back to the original volume of the song by turning off sound check.
Learn more about what ID3 tags are and what they’re used for in How to Change Artist Name, Genre, and Other Song Information in iTunes.
Turn on audio verification on your iPhone and other iOS devices
To turn on sound checking on your iPhone (or any other iOS device, such as an iPod touch or iPad), follow these steps:
- Tap the Settings app to open it.
- Tap Music.
- Scroll down to Playback.
- Move the Sound Check slider to the green position.
These steps work based on iOS 10 and above, but the options are similar to earlier versions. Just look at the Music app settings and Sound Check should be easy to find.
Enable Sound Check on iPod Classic/Nano
For devices that don’t work on iOS, such as the original iPod/iPod Classic line or iPod nanos, the instructions are slightly different. These steps assume that you are using an iPod with Clickwheel. If your iPod has a touch screen like some later iPod nano models, adapting these instructions should be pretty intuitive.
- Use the scroll wheel to go to the Settings menu.
- Press the center button to select Settings.
- Scroll halfway through the Settings menu until you find Sound Check. Highlight this.
- Press the center iPod button, and Sound Check should now appear as On.
Use Sound Check in iTunes and on your iPod Shuffle
Sound Check is not limited to mobile devices. It also works with iTunes. And, if you noticed that the last lesson didn’t include the iPod Shuffle, don’t worry. You use iTunes to enable Sound Check in Shuffle.
Learn how to use Sound Check with iTunes and iPod Shuffle in this article.
Enable Sound Check on Apple TV 4K and 4th Gen. Apple TV
Apple TV can become the center of your home stereo system by supporting playback of your iCloud music library or your Apple Music collection. Like the other devices in this article, Apple TV 4K and 4th Gen. Apple TV also supports sound checking to equalize the volume of your music. To enable sound checking on these Apple TV models, follow these steps.
- Select Settings.
- Select Apps.
- Select Music.
- Highlight the Sound Check menu and press on the remote control to toggle the menu to On.